I am taking up Batya’s prodding to blog about where we were when President Kennedy was murdered....I wasn’t sure that I could do a whole blog on this, but it grew as I typed..
I was in 6th grade the day which President Kennedy was killed.(OK, now you know how old I am!) I had viewed him as an impeccable person, not knowing the scandals that later arose around him, and viewing everything with a child’s (you are “right” or “wrong”) mind. It was rainy outside, and when our two teachers came in to tell us "Something upsetting", I thought a tornado was on the way. The shock of the announcement was tremendous. WE watched TV there in class and saw all the announcements. It was one of my first contacts with the reality that there are evil people in the world. (Also, somewhere about that same time, I came across some old magazines covering the Eichmann trial (in the office of our local airport), where I first became aware of the types of things perpetrated during the holocaust, which needless to say, left me in shock.)
The question is, how can we help our children handle this type of occurrence? (And in Israel, we are not talking about 6th graders, but much younger children.) I always suspect that if a kid is noticing the tension of the adults around, and is grasping at least some of the information, he needs to be told. Then he can be told that it is rare, and not likely to happen to his family. And I always add: “We don’t choose when we die. We can only choose how to live.”